YOUth Voice
Social Justice


The YOUth Voice for Social Justice project was created to help local youth address the social justice issues they face every day. Over a three-year period, young people received the training, funding and support necessary to create and manage youth-led solutions to community needs.




Over the last several years, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan has partnered with the University of Michigan School of Social Work and the Johnson Center for Philanthropy to promote youth voice in community social justice issues.  The project, called YOUth Voice for Social Justice, has had several components:

  • providing high-quality training and one-on-one coaching to 60 youth-serving organizations in the region
  • facilitating a youth-led survey by the Metropolitan Detroit Youth Fellows of more than 1,100 youth in the region
  • hosting a youth summit where teens from across the region learned from each other about pressing community needs
  • requesting grant applications for youth-led solutions to community needs
  • funding 18 youth-led projects totaling $150,000.


In addition to funding youth-led projects throughout southeast Michigan, the Community Foundation’s YOUth Voice for Social Justice program has fostered youth leadership by creating cohort of young people who worked together and learned from one another over a three-year period. In addition, through workshops and convenings, many nonprofit organizations gained important skills and experience integrating youth voice in their work. Here is a video on the impact of the program.

The final activity of the YOUth Voice for Social Justice program was a conversation between four youth leaders and four community members that was broadcast on Detroit Public Television on January 18. Watch the program here.

As follow up, the Metropolitan Youth Fellows created a toolkit for engaging youth in civic life.

Are you someone who is inspired by this project and looking to make a difference in your community? Check out these tips, which were compiled by our youth leaders.

Tips for Youth: Ideas for setting community engagement goals and getting things done

Tips for Adult Allies: How to be a resource for youth leaders in your community

Tips for Community Leaders: How to meaningfully engage young people in your work


The application process is now closed. Awardees were notified in December 2014.


If you are inspired by this project and wants to contribute funds to assist the Community Foundation to continue this work, we welcome donations to our Youth Leadership Fund.

The Community Foundation can accept gifts of almost any kind, including:

  • Cash, by check or online donation
  • Securities traded on major exchanges
  • Closely held business interests
  • Interests in limited liability companies
  • Patent interests and other qualified intellectual properties
  • Mutual fund shares
  • Fully paid life insurance policies
  • Retirement plan assets
  • Real estate

How to Give

You can give online using our online giving platform.

Give Online

Don’t want to give online? Give by check, cash, securities or wire transfer.

Please make your check payable to the “Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan” and mail it to:

Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
333 W. Fort St., Suite 2010
Detroit, MI 48226

For assistance with how to give gifts of cash, marketable securities or wire transfer, please review our Procedures for Making a Gift of Cash or Stock documents.

Procedures for Making a Gift of Cash or Stock


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact:

Surabhi Pandit

Senior Program Officer

313.961.6675, ext. 123

Contact Surabhi if you have grant-related questions.